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Under the Merovingian dynasty, the mayor of the palace (Latin: maior palatii or maior domus) was the manager of the household of the Frankish king.

During the second half of the seventh century, the office evolved into the "power behind the throne". At that time the mayor of the palace held and wielded the real and effective power to make decisions affecting the kingdom, while the kings were increasingly reduced to performing merely ceremonial functions, which made them little more than figureheads (rois fainéants, 'do-nothing kings'). The office may be compared to that of the peshwa, shōgun, sarvadhikari or prime minister, all of which have similarly been the real powers behind some ceremonial monarchs.

In 687, after victory over the western kingdom of Neustria, the Austrasian mayor, Pippin of Herstal, took the title Duke of the Franks to signify his augmented rule. His son and successor, Charles Martel, ruled without elevating a new king during the last four years of his reign (737–741). His sons Carloman and Pepin the Short elevated another Merovingian king, Childeric III, but he was eventually deposed in 751 by Pepin, who was crowned king in his place.

See also Royal Administration of Merovingian and Carolingian Dynasties.

Mayors of the Palace of Austrasia

Name In office Family Remarks
Parthemius 531–548
...
Gogo 567–581
Wandalenus 581–583 Waltrichs
...
Florentianus um 589
...
Protadus 595–600
Claudius 600
Gondulphus 600–612 Merowingians (uncert.)
Warnachar 613 Short after the assassination of Sigibert II
Rado 613–616/617
Hugh (Chucus) 617–622 Hugobertins (uncert.)
Pepin of Landen 624/25–634 Pippinids First time
Adalgisel 634–639
Pepin of Landen 639–640 Pippinids Second time
Otto 640–643
Grimoald I 643–657 oder 662 Pippinids
Ansegisel 657 oder 662–662 Arnulfingians
Wulfoald 662–679 Etichonen (uncert.)
Pepin of Herstal 679–714 Pippinids
Theudoald 714–715 Pippinids de jure under his grandmother Plectrude
Charles Martel 715–741 Pippinids After the Battle of Soissons (718) Maior Domus in all parts of the realm
Carloman 741–747 Pippinids Austrasia containing also Alemania
Pepin the Short 747–751 Pippinids Maior Domus for the whole realm

Mayors of the Palace of Neustria

Mayors of the Palace of Burgundy

Hereafter the office remained vacant, with Burgundy a separate realm under the King of Neustria and Burgundy. The administration of Burgundy was briefly separate under:

Mayors of the Palace of Aquitaine

Further reading